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Old 10-01-2012, 02:21 PM   #1
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Is there a way to tell if fridge outlet already has dedicated breaker?


Bought a house and breaker box is not labeled. Is there a way to tell if the fridge has a dedicated circuit?
Also, we need to replace the panel and service due to water getting in from the conduit - it's an old rope thing. We currently have 100amp service. One guy told us there was a $1000 difference between 100 amp and 200 amp and second electrician just a $300 diff... Is the first guy ripping me off? What is usually the delta for a 100 and 200 amp panel? Thanks in advance.

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Old 10-01-2012, 02:28 PM   #2
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Is there a way to tell if fridge outlet already has dedicated breaker?


One simple test but not 100 accurite is to find the breaker for the ref. and shut it off and see what else does not work at the same time.
If it was a dedacated circut the breaker would say ref.

It was common years ago to not have it on it's own circut and would only really needed to be changed unless you were rewiring anyway.

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Old 10-01-2012, 02:39 PM   #3
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Is there a way to tell if fridge outlet already has dedicated breaker?


Ok thanks. I guess I'm just going to have to turn the breakers on/off while my husband looks to see what turns on/off. Nothing is labeled. Any thoughts on the price difference for the two services??
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Old 10-01-2012, 02:45 PM   #4
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Is there a way to tell if fridge outlet already has dedicated breaker?


Are those written quotations (firm contract prices) or just off the top of the head remarks ?
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Old 10-01-2012, 02:49 PM   #5
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Are those written quotations (firm contract prices) or just off the top of the head remarks ?
They were both written quotes.
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Old 10-01-2012, 03:42 PM   #6
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Is there a way to tell if fridge outlet already has dedicated breaker?


My 200 amp upgrade (Square D QO panel + breakers) cost around $2300.

If I recall correctly, a 100 amp panel upgrade (I had a 60 amp service) would have cost me few hundred less.

Before hiring any contractors, make sure to do your due diligence (checking his license, bbb, references, etc.).

When I hired my electrician, we agreed to 3 payments (first when agreement was signed, second when the job was completed and the last payment when the permit was approved).

good luck
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Old 10-01-2012, 08:06 PM   #7
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Is there a way to tell if fridge outlet already has dedicated breaker?


The work is identical in labour. The cost difference will be in the main panel($200 maybe) and the conduit,meter pan and cables to the POCO connection. Copper cable is expensive. It is possible the conduit,meter pan and cables to the POCO connection do not need to be changed for the 100 amp but do for 200 amp which would add some labour as well.
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Old 10-01-2012, 10:44 PM   #8
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Is there a way to tell if fridge outlet already has dedicated breaker?


Depending on the specifics of the installation, a $300 or $1000 difference could be reasonable for 100A versus 200A service. The issue is why the two contractors gave such different price differences. Presumably they are planning different approaches to the installation. Perhaps the cheaper one overlooked something (replace cable between the meter and weatherhead?), or the more expensive one made an incorrect assumption (like maybe the power company is responsible for part of the work he quoted).
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Old 10-01-2012, 11:15 PM   #9
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Is there a way to tell if fridge outlet already has dedicated breaker?


I would get a few more bids. Be specific as to what you want and make sure all of the bids are for the same work. The only difference between a 100 amp service and a 200 amp service is the wire size to the weatherhead and the panel itself. No additional labor of any consequence.
As far as tracing out your circuits...there are devices which plug into an outlet and send a signal through the powerline. This is picked up by the receiver at the panel. Very useful and inexpensive.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:05 PM   #10
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Is there a way to tell if fridge outlet already has dedicated breaker?


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I would get a few more bids. Be specific as to what you want and make sure all of the bids are for the same work. The only difference between a 100 amp service and a 200 amp service is the wire size to the weatherhead and the panel itself. No additional labor of any consequence.
As far as tracing out your circuits...there are devices which plug into an outlet and send a signal through the powerline. This is picked up by the receiver at the panel. Very useful and inexpensive.
Do you happen to have an example or link to such a device? Google is giving me a wide range of results and the cheap ones seem like one would have to open the socket/outlet and alligator clip into the line to trace it back. Which doesn't excite me very much but neither does dropping $500 for a "plug and play" model, lol. Or is this just what is out there?
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:14 PM   #11
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Is there a way to tell if fridge outlet already has dedicated breaker?


Of course google is going to return multiple results of the same item. Just use the search engine at lowes.com or homedepot.com to search for "Circuit Breaker Finder". Ideal makes a good unit that sells for $39 at Lowes here in the U.S.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:18 PM   #12
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Is there a way to tell if fridge outlet already has dedicated breaker?


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Of course google is going to return multiple results of the same item. Just use the search engine at lowes.com or homedepot.com to search for "Circuit Breaker Finder". Ideal makes a good unit that sells for $39 at Lowes here in the U.S.
Thanks, turns out it was just the terms I was using, thanks for the info. Found just what I was hoping for.
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Old 10-02-2012, 01:29 PM   #13
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Is there a way to tell if fridge outlet already has dedicated breaker?


The best one is s radio on loud enough to be heard at the panel. When you turn off the breaker the radio goes off. Fairly simple test. Test both halves of the receptacle.
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:01 PM   #14
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Is there a way to tell if fridge outlet already has dedicated breaker?


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Originally Posted by OCPik4chu View Post
Do you happen to have an example or link to such a device? Google is giving me a wide range of results and the cheap ones seem like one would have to open the socket/outlet and alligator clip into the line to trace it back. Which doesn't excite me very much but neither does dropping $500 for a "plug and play" model, lol. Or is this just what is out there?
Newegg.com - GB Gardner Bender CS550A Circuit Breaker Finder

You can also check out Gardner Bender. The one I use is red and the receiver has a wand which you pass over the breakers. It's also about $50

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